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Using EI, still having algae problems

Discussion in 'CO2 Enrichment' started by discusman54, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. discusman54

    discusman54 Junior Poster

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    Hi
    I'm at my wits end with trying to get my 55 gallon planted tank straightened out after a major outbreak of BBA. After a 20+ year break in keeping fish I came back in to the hobby 7 months ago with this tank. The focus is now 5 young hungry discus and of course, plants.
    The BBA started when I purchased the 5 discus 4 months ago. I was told by the shop clerk that the discus needed 7.0ph water (as required by the breeder). He recommended Seachems Neutral Regulator. After several weeks of 30% water changes with this product, I started seeing some new algae, which turned out to be the dreaded BBA. I purchased a phosphate test kit and was shocked to find levels off the chart, 10.0ppm. I did several water changes then figured out that the whole problem was the neutral regulator! Did I feel stupid!
    I found this forum about 2 months ago and started getting all my dry chemicals together to do the EI dosing method. I've been out of work with a work injury since 4-25. After several surgery's on my elbow I have had way to much time on my hands to spend entirely to much money! It may be coming to an end soon. Anyway, 3X a week I dose1/2 ts KNO3, 1/8 ts K2SO4, 1/8ts Plantex+B, 10ml Seachems Fe. I do not dose Phosphate as my tap water is already .5ppm and I'm feeding 5 hungry young discus. At 50% water change I use 3 TBS of Seachems Equilibrium and Acid /Alkaline Buffer as my tap water is moderately soft with a 6.8 PH. I just started Seachems Excell, have been dosing on the heavy side for 2 weeks now. Have been using the EI method for 4 weeks.
    For lights I have a 4x65w PCF fixture set about 4 inches above the tank. One circuit has 2 65w 5200k bulbs which are on 10.5 hours, other circuit has 2 65w 6500k bulbs on a 5 hour mid-day burst. I just bought the timer for the lights a week ago.
    Substrate is a 50/50 mix of Flourite and Eco-complete.
    Current tank parameters
    PH7.0
    Nitrate 20ppm,
    PO4 2.0ppm
    FE .2ppm,
    GH9
    KH5
    temp 82- 83
    I do not have a drop checker yet, but I am dissolving CO2 in at a rate of 1 bubble a second with no excess. That's about the max for my DIY chamber and pump. Also I do have a magnum 350 cannister using a Seachems Purigen bag/ floss, with 2 bio-wheels. I know the bio-wheels are not good for CO2 retention.
    All the plants have some BBA that seems to come and go. I have tried to trim as much as possible, even removing some and dipping in a bleach/water solution. Also having some current problems with green thread algae in high flow areas.
    My red temple is about to croak, Micro-sword is all but gone. Cabomba and Water Sprite are coming back, they are the only plants that seem to showing any good growth since starting EI. Amazon Swords are doing OK despite BBA on many of the leaves. Glosso was added a week ago and seems to be taking hold OK. Red crypt growth is weak, have lost many of the leaves. Anubias Nanas have some new growth but BBA is still holding on them. Jave ferns are completly covered with BBA, I'm making some progress removing the stuff.
    I had a nice clean tank with decent plant growth several months ago before this BBA stuff! What do I need to do, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    Sorry this ran on so long.
    Bob
     
  2. Peyton

    Peyton Junior Poster

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    I think your main problem would be CO2. I have a 40gal with 2.7 wpg and have to run almost 3 bps to reach a optimum level of CO2. You could probably stand to lose at least one 65w cf bulb also. That is a lot of light over a 55 gal!
     
  3. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    It is a lot of light and a lot of discus for a 55 gallon. You really do need to work on the CO2, cleaning out all of the existing BBA, making sure there is good water circulation, and, stop fearing phosphate. You need to dose it if you want good plant growth, and without good plant growth, and with all of the discus dumping in the tank, the ammonia spikes will start algae over and over.
     
  4. Pockets

    Pockets Prolific Poster

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    • I would remove one 65watt miday burst lamp from the setup.
    • Leave PO4 at 0.5 - 2.0 .
    • Raise Iron to about 0.5 - 1.5 .
    • Lower GH to 4.0 - 8.0 .
    • And without a doubt get an Automated Co2 setup to increase your levels to 20-30ppm.

    I don't know how discuss can handle a 5 day blackout but I recommend that also. WC before & after. Uproot some plants and hand remove algae. Get some SAE's and Otto's. Also after the 5 day blackout I would decrease light to 8hrs and slowly increase to 10hrs as good results are detected.

    55gal. w/ approx 40-50 Total water volume & 65watt X 4 bulbs == 5.2 watts per gallon for at least 5hrs per day, and all your dosed ferts ===> ..... well your gonna have to grow somthin! :D
     
  5. discusman54

    discusman54 Junior Poster

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    Thank you so much for the input! I had to smile when I read yours VaughnH, I guess I do have a Phosphate phobia now! Hmm, wonder if this is listed in the American Medical Association? We can call it PP! I will dose PO4 this cycle and less on the Equilibrium. The GH was a little higher than normal for me.

    I now have a drop checker on the way, decided to order it last night. That's the only way I will know what's going on in the tank.

    Will get some chelated iron to dose iron as Seachems is just to expensive for what it does.

    I tweaked my CO2 reactor, now have about 2-3bs.

    I have a valve to automate the CO2 system, just need to wire, install and get a timer. Probably get it in this week..

    I really can't remove one light out of the fixture since they are set in pairs but I can do some rearranging of bulbs. I have a couple of plant grow bulbs (pink cast), I can replace the 6500k with them. They seem to have a lower lumen. Also I am cutting the light cycle back. The recent addition of a dual timer has helped a lot.

    This is with out a doubt the best and most comprehensive forum on the net! Thanks for your help.
    Bob
     
  6. discusman54

    discusman54 Junior Poster

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    Hey, my plants are pearling! Yes, it's been a while since I have seen that! Things seem to have taken a turn this week, I see mo more thread algae, plants are really perking up. Cabomba is growing an inch a day, I really don't like this plant much but it is so easy.

    I'm still waiting on the drop checker. I should have purchased this long ago. I never really understood just how much CO2 is needed for the amount of light I have.

    I am dosing PO4 now.

    Cut back photo period by 1 hour, cut burst back one hour.

    Tried to find SAEs, so far no luck. Considering buying online, do you know of a good source?

    I hooked up the solenoid I had for CO2, it was getting way to hot to use , it draws 8watts with very little heat sink so it was heating the whole regulator. I have another one on the way. Right now I'm cutting CO2 back at night by adjusting the valve.

    I've been trashing many of the algae infested plants, which gives me an opportunity to get new ones. Looks like the Red Temple may not recover so I ordered some Rotala Rotund for color. What kind of experience have you folks had with this plant? Site says it's easy to grow.
    I've learned a lot in the last few months!
    Thanks again,
     
  7. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Rotala rotundifolia grows profusely! Turn your back on it and you need a hedge trimmer - gasoline powered - to regain control!

    Maybe that's a slight exaggeration.

    I love the plant!
     
  8. mrkookm

    mrkookm Guest

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    That Pet Place that Fish Place has them in stock as of last week Saturday when I went there. I bought 2 and they had about 70+ 'guessing' & sizes are about 1/14".
     
  9. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

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    Solenoid Valve

    Solenoid Valves do get host but I don't connect mine to the regulator so it doesn't bother me too much.

    I was tipped off on another forum to connect the needle valve directly into the regulator and to connect the solenoid inline.

    You can see here that the regulator has the needle valve coming from it and then 2 inches down the hose the solenoid valve is inline (resting on it's own timer)
    CO2Setup.jpg

    Andy
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    I don't think that is the best way to hook up the solenoid valve. When that valve is off, pressure downstream of the needle valve builds up to the low pressure setting of the regulator, 20-30 psi. Now, when the solenoid valve opens in the morning you get a blast of CO2 as the pressure rapidly drops to a couple of psi or less. That isn't good.
     
  11. BHornsey

    BHornsey Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Vaughn

    This is a problem I have. The solenoid is an Aqua Medic stand alone device screwed inside the cabinet.
    However, I have to have a couple of foot of CO2 hose between the regulator and the solenoid to allow me to take the bottle out of the cabinet and get at the regulator fitting. Overnight, the pressure can build up to 4-5 bar!
    When it kicks in the rush of CO2 can overwhelm the CO2 reactor pump impellor (I have a 'Barr' DIY internal reactor).
    For now, I've tilted the reactor so that the pump intake is slightly elevated and this cures the pump problem. Can't do much about the solenoid issue as I have to have some slack between the reg and solenoid to pull the bottle out.
     
  12. discusman54

    discusman54 Junior Poster

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    The solenoid I had wasn't really made for continuous on use, more for an industrial application of being cycled on off all day long, I use them at work. I didn't have a thermometer to measure the temp but it would burn you. I should have another one tomorrow.

    Vaughnh, that sounds like how Cabomba grows in my tank now, I hope the Rotala rotundifolia grows that well for me!

    Thanks for the info about SAEs mrkookm but it looks like their only store is in Lancaster Pa. I can get the Flying Fox SAE but so far no true SAEs.
    I Decided to hold off for now on getting new fish as my quarantine tank is currently being used to treat one of my girlfriends sick fish. I never but any fish in the Discus tank without at least a week Qt.

    For the drop checker, can I make a 4dKH solution using Seachems Alkaline buffer?
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    You can't make the 4dKH solution with alkaline buffer. Use plain sodium bicarbonate - baking soda - instead. Or, best of all, buy it already made.
     
  14. discusman54

    discusman54 Junior Poster

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    I've searched for a supplier in the U.S. but have had no luck. I read where Tom Watson was going to carry it but can't find it on his site. Is Aquaessentials my best bet?
     
  15. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    KH Standard is one place to buy 4 dKH standard solution.
     
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